Insect 43 · Small Tortoiseshell

Charlotte tops my list of past Filey holidaymakers that I would have liked to meet – but only because she is Emily’s sister. I can recall the day in the Sixth Form as if it was yesterday that ‘J.R.’ read the opening paragraphs of Wuthering Heights to us. See High Windows.

David was baptised in his father’s home village, Beeford. He found a wife in Foston, about four miles distant and the couple set up home in Kilham. Six children (on the Shared Tree) were baptised there. Firstborn son William cast his net wider. Priscilla was from Cayton and she may have been the force that ensured their lives would end in Filey in the 1840s. Their daughters, Jane and Priscilla, married at St Oswald’s – into the seafaring Filey Crawford and Richardson families. Several boys in these families were given the first name ‘Dunn’.

Matthew is the only TILFORD in Filey Genealogy & Connections. In the next generation, his family name would appear as TELFORTH or TELFORD. Hannah gives birth to five girls but FG&C only has the two youngest – Margaret, who was happy with Filey and had nine children with Peter PROCTOR, and Jane who sought adventure and created a SANDERSON dynasty in Ontario with her husband John.

For a little more on Miss PARROTT, see Emily’s Brothers.

Henry John Kilby GIBSON is a grandson of Alice BAKER (death anniversary, 28 January).

Tangled up in Colleys

About a week ago, in Little Warneford Annie, I wrote this-

Robert is one of the Skipsea branch of Colleys. They settled in Filey for many years, but I haven’t yet happened upon any that sleep here eternally. So, I am unlikely to extend their pedigree on FST.

There is a Skipsea Colley buried in St Oswald’s churchyard – so I feel duty-bound…

I intended writing about the Three Wives of George Colley today. The names of two are remembered on this headstone.


In loving memory of LOUISA, the beloved wife of GEORGE COLLEY of Cliff Terrace, who died May 21st 1860, aged 39 years.

Also, two children of the above who died in infancy.

Also of GEORGE COLLEY, who died April 10th 1866, aged 59 years.

Also of SARAH, relict of the late GEORGE COLLEY, who died Dec 6th 1866, aged 33 years.

George and Louisa married at St Oswald’s on 29 April 1852. Five weeks or so later, one of Francis Smith’s guests wrote to a friend…

“Cliffe House, Filey, June 6th, 1852.

“Dear E—-, – I am at Filey utterly alone…Do not be angry, the step is right. I considered it, and resolved on it with due deliberation. Change of air was necessary; there were reasons why I should not go to the south, and why I should come here…

“I am in our old lodgings at Mrs. Smith’s; not, however, in the same rooms, but in less expensive apartments. They seemed glad to see me, remembered you and me very well, and, seemingly, with great good will. The daughter who used to wait on us is just married…

Believe me, yours faithfully,

“C. Bronte.”


Cliff Terrace is just around the corner.


I think this was where George and Louisa set up home and brought four children into the world. The infants mentioned on the monument were both called Sophia Mabel.

About a year after Louisa’s death, George crossed the Humber married Sarah TOYN in Spilsby and returned to Cliff Terrace.

Their first child, a son they called George Toyn, lived to the age of 77. Their second, daughter Emma, survived for just a week after her christening. When George died the following spring he was possibly unaware that Sarah was carrying their third child. A widow, she died giving birth. The boy’s birth and death were registered under the name “Stillborn Colley” on the 7th of December. (The “6th” is clearly inscribed on the headstone.)

This afternoon, I found a census record which put a question mark against George’s first wife. Other censuses caused me to wonder if George was perhaps the uncle of the Robert Dixon Colley mentioned at the beginning of this post. With several Filey Colleys beginning their lives in Skipsea it would be a surprise if they were not related by blood. As things are, the Shared Tree is keeping them apart. George needs parents, several children and two wives on FST. There’s more work to be done.

The Poisoner’s House

Yesterday I was offered the loan of Robin Gilbank’s book on the Life of Dr. E W Pritchard, The Prettiest Liar, and learned that the infamous quack opened a branch to his practice in Filey in 1853, on North Street. He bought a “summer residence” a short walk away from the surgery, No.8 Rutland Terrace, now 38 Rutland Street. This afternoon I photographed the house from Belle Vue Street (the old North Street), with Cliff House on the corner, bearing Charlotte Brontë’s Blue Plaque. (The Pritchard House has a Blue One Way traffic sign.)


Called Prospect House in the 1850s, it is now Savona and, I think, a holiday let. I was asked this morning if it was once a hospital (or maybe a nursing home). Any information about this will be gratefully received and shared.


Today’s “Old” Image of my dear pal Jude brought back a particular memory of that day eight years ago. It isn’t very clear in the photo but there was a lot of moisture in the air – Bempton and Speeton cliffs were obscured by a sea fret (of sorts) and the sea near the shore was carrying a lot of clay in suspension, usually a sign of recent heavy rain. I checked my weather records and there was very little rainfall on the 5th or the 6th – in Whitby! We may well have had a storm pass over us here in Filey to muddy the waters. There is a particular word to describe run off from clay cliffs but for most of the day I couldn’t recall it. This was most annoying – and looking online at a number of geology oriented sites didn’t help. At tea time a word beginning with ‘neph’ suddenly came to mind. The nearest dictionary to hand was my dad’s, a 14th birthday present, published in 1932. It offered ‘nepheloid’. A bell rang – the meaning ‘clouded, turbid’ in the ball park. My Concise English Dictionary, an 11th birthday present from my cousin Terry, had ‘nephology’ – the study of clouds. My dad’s dictionary wins! I searched online for ‘nepheloid flow’ and this source brought clarity (ha) – it even mentions the North Sea.

High Windows

20170803RutlandStreet1_1mThe early morning sun illuminated the bow windows of Rutland Terrace and I imagined the doomed Pritchards looking down into the street from the upper floors. But which house did they occupy for a short time in the 1850s? Opinion seems to vary now. Perhaps the properties were renumbered by the Post Office when the present Rutland Street was built up from end to end and this has caused some confusion. The 1851 map below shows what little building there had been in “New Filey” by this date – just the first block of The Crescent had been completed. Residents of the Terrace had a clear prospect from their front rooms to Cliff House where Charlotte Brontë stayed with the SMITHS several times.


On 6th June 1852, Charlotte wrote to Ellen Nussey:-

I walk on the sands a good deal, and try not to feel desolate and melancholy. How sorely my heart longs for you, I need not say. I have bathed once; it seemed to do me good. I may, perhaps, stay here a fortnight. There are as yet scarcely any visitors. A Lady Wenlock is staying at the large house of which you used so vigilantly to observe the inmates. One day I set out with intent to trudge to Filey Bridge, but was frightened back by two cows. I mean to try again some morning.